The 25 hottest collector vehicles (OK, 29) heading into fall
Stop the presses! The King is dead! OK, so the King isn’t actually dead, but when you’ve held the title as the hottest collector vehicle in the land for as long as the 1966–77 Ford Bronco has, it’s a pretty big deal when you slip to #2.
That’s right. After sitting on top for what seems like years, the original bucking Bronco just got bucked off… by a Jeep… barely. The 1963–83 Jeep Wagoneer, which sat third in the last Hagerty Vehicle Rating, gained a single point this time around while the Bronco lost two—just enough to give the Wagoneer the #1 spot.
[What is the Hagerty Vehicle Rating? The HVR, based on a 0–100 scale, considers the quantity of vehicles insured and quoted through Hagerty, along with auction activity and private sales results. A vehicle that is keeping pace with the overall market has an HVR of 50. Ratings above 50 show above-average market interest, while vehicles with a sub-50-point rating are lagging. The HVR is not an indicator of future collectability, but it says a lot about what’s trending hot and what’s not.]
The Wagoneer received a boost from 30-percent value increases in the latest Hagerty Price Guide, as well as a high number of insurance quotes, 78-percent of which came from Gen-Xers and Millennials. It has an overall HVR of 94, one point ahead of the first-generation Bronco. Bonus: With a median #3 (Good) condition value of $15,635, the Wagoneer is about half the cost of an original Bronco, which has a median #3 value of $30,773.
“The Wagoneer was one of the most recognizable and enduring trucks of its day, and the capable and rugged platform resonated with buyers,” says Hagerty valuation editor Andrew Newton. “It continued to sell well long after its design started to get long in the tooth. Affinity for the later, more-luxurious Grand Wagoneers has also brought some attention back to original Wagoneers from the ’60s and ’70s.”
The 1963 Jeep Wagoneer was an all-new vehicle for newly-branded Jeep, formally known as Willys. After three years of development and a cost of $20 million, it was introduced on November 14, 1962. The new Wagoneer was powered by a 230-cubic-inch, two-barrel, six-cylinder engine that mustered 140 horsepower, and it shared all the styling cues of its Gladiator pickup sibling (but not for long). The Wagoneer was available in several body styles, from a two-door panel delivery vehicle to two-door and four-door station wagons. All offered optional four-wheel drive.
Suddenly, the Chevrolet/GMC Suburban and International Travelall had a new rival (and within three years, the Bronco would also join the fray).
When 1964 arrived the Wagoneer sported a new horizontal grille, which made it easier to distinguish from the Gladiator. Later changes included optional V-8 power, starting in 1965, and, partway through ’69, the elimination of two-door models—which essentially made the Wagoneer a heavy-duty station wagon. In 1979, AMC (which bought Kaiser-Jeep in 1970) offered a luxury upgrade package and dubbed it the Jeep Wagoneer Limited. Production ended after the 1983 model year.
While SUVs held onto the top two spots in the Hagerty Vehicle Rating and the Viper-powered 2004–06 Dodge Ram SRT-10 pickup climbed 40 spots into a tie for second place with 93 points, it wasn’t the same old story we’ve been sharing for months. Trucks and SUVs did not dominate the Top 25 list (29, including ties). In fact, 17 of the top 29 are passenger vehicles.
“Trucks have been played out a bit, and they might be leveling off,” says Hagerty valuation analyst James Hewitt. “The big interest now is in the sporty Japanese and Euro cars, and this might be taking some attention away from trucks and SUVs.”
Leading the charge of cars is the 1969–74 Alfa Romeo GTV, which catapulted from 55th place to second with a 13-point jump. That comes as no surprise to Hagerty information analyst Adam Wilcox, who calls the GTV “the best-looking sport compact ever made.” Wilcox says the car’s values rose an average of 18 percent in the last price guide update in May, and Hagerty has “also seen an increase in quotes, cars added to insurance policies, and median insured value.”
The GTV is the most expensive vehicle on the list with a median #3 value of $46,486. That goes against the grain of the typical Top 25 list, which is generally dominated by the under-$20K crowd. In fact, 19 of the top 29 vehicles in the current HVR have a median value of less than $20,000. Seven of those are valued less than $10K.
Other passenger vehicles in a seven-vehicle, second-place logjam are the 1982–86 Toyota Supra Mk II, which moved up 30 spots; a pair of Mazdas, the 1990–98 MX-5 Miata and 1993–2002 RX-7; and the 1999–2002 BMW M Coupe.
A third Supra, the 1993–98 Mk IV, is tied for 16th with 88 points. It is one of seven Japanese vehicles in the top 16. The other two are Nissans: the 1989–94 Skyline R32 GT-R, which is 12th (90), and the 1990–96 300ZX, which is 15th (89).
American vehicles making big jumps include the 1992–2002 Cadillac Eldorado, which moved from 69th to 16th (80) and is the least expensive car on the list (median #3 value of $3918); the 1978–79 Dodge Lil Red Express pickup, which rode a bump in quoting activity and gained nine points, rising 55 spots to 21st (87); and the 2009–2015 Cadillac CTS-V, the newest vehicle on the list, which jumped from 55th to 21st (87).
Hagerty vehicle data specialist Greg Ingold says of the CTS-V: “It’s a fast luxury car. The wagons are incredibly popular and sought after, especially with a manual transmission. We’re seeing increased interest, and we just added these to the price guide, which explains their jump into the Top 25.”
Also of note: The 1981–83 DeLorean DMC-12, once considered a failure but now rising in popularity and stature, fell just one point short of cracking the Top 25. Regardless, with 86 points, it’s a hot commodity.